February 11, 2016
The Griswold Road paving project is now complete, and I am delighted that we are receiving many positive comments from our residents and adjacent communities.
This project was complicated at times beginning with securing funding for this project back in 2010, when we were fortunate enough to receive a commitment from the Livingston County/Huron Valley Federal Aid Committee (FAC) for $1,650,000 toward the construction of the road to begin in 2013. This meant that we had to complete all the designs, obtain any right-of-way needed, and satisfy all agency requirements as early as possible before the Federal money, which is administered though Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), would actually be obligated (secured).
The original project included paving Griswold Road between 8 Mile Road and 9 Mile Road only; it did not include intersection improvements at 8 Mile Road and 9 Mile Road. The original construction budget based on estimates before design was $2,016,000, plus $263,000 for construction engineering being donated by the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC). An additional $300,000 was budgeted for preliminary engineering and easement acquisition costs. The Lyon Township Board of Trustees endorsed a cost participation agreement where the Township would pay 20% of the construction, pre-engineering, and easement acquisition costs, which was estimated to be between $400,000 and $500,000. 80% of the construction cost would be covered by Federal Aid dollars with the remainder of the funding coming from the RCOC and Oakland County.
In the summer of 2014 the Township engineers, Giffels-Webster, updated their cost estimates as the designs and construction documents neared their final form. The following outlines the additional work and costs that were added to the project:
1. RCOC requested that the intersection of 9 Mile Road be improved to accommodate a future signalized intersection. This added approximately $250,000 to the project cost, but to RCOC’s credit, they agreed to pay for the added cost and did not increase Lyon Township’s costs.
2. The Washtenaw County Road Commission required a center left turn lane at the 8 Mile Rd. intersection. This added $226,000 to the Township’s cost.
3. The soils along certain portions of the road route were found to be unsuitable for a sustainable road bed and had to be excavated out and replaced with proper materials, including geogrid soil stabilization techniques and additional curb and gutter.
4. CSX Railroad provided an estimate of $221,000 for improvements to their rail crossing which were not in the original budget and required Lyon Township to deposit the money into a “Force Account” which they would use to make their improvements. Thankfully, the final amount is now determined to be much less at $83,983.
In the fall/winter of 2014 the project was put out for bidding and all the cost participation agreements were prepared. I had approached South Lyon Mayor Tedd Wallace in 2011 about sharing some of the local cost for this project, as we both agreed this would be a great benefit for both communities regarding traffic relief on Pontiac Trail. Both communities had shared costs in the past. The most recent past project was paving 8 Mile Road west of Pontiac Trail to Dixboro Road. Lyon Township contributed $200,000 and the City of South Lyon contributed $75,000, totaling the $275,000 required for the local match of that $2,000,000 Federal aid project. When the time came for commitments of the funding for the Griswold paving project, Wallace informed me that the City had unexpected expenses and that they would not be contributing any dollars toward the project. So based on our worst case estimates before actual bids were received and contingencies known, the Township portion of this now expanded $3.3 million project was likely to be much higher than originally expected.
Today the construction is finished, the project is complete, and we have analyzed our cost and evaluated each line item. The construction went smoothly and there were few change orders. In fact there were some significant savings in some of the budget line items as follows:
1. Unit price based contract pay items were about $266,000 under budget
2. CSX device relocation costs were $31,000 under budget; and
3. None of the $141,000 construction contingency was used. The total construction budget savings is approximately $438,000.
There are many factors why money was saved on this job even though the scope was greatly expanded. We had a very thorough set of construction documents through Giffels-Webster, the contract administration and construction inspection team supplied by RCOC was exceptional, and we had a well-qualified contractor (Ajax Paving) that performed in an exemplary manner. The following spreadsheet labeled Table 1 provides a breakdown of costs by line item for those who are interested. This project was difficult getting started because it involved Federal Aid dollars, MDOT standards for design, and a CSX Railroad crossing. However, I believe all of the effort supplied by many has been worth it when one sees the finished product and experiences the traffic relief on Pontiac Trail.
The final cost of this project, with the additions to 8 Mile Road and 9 Mile Road intersections, is $3,311,484. The wonderful part of this story is we completed a critically needed multi-million dollar road project benefiting the entire community with Lyon Township’s cost being only 14% ($471,343) of the total project cost.
Lyon Township Supervisor
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